50 Commercial Street

Enlivened by exuberant Victorian ornamentation, 50 Commercial Street was built about 1860. The historic district survey calls it the Ross Moffett cottage. Moffett, who died in 1971, was one of the best known Provincetown painters and a leader of the modernist faction at the Provincetown Art Association, with Todd Lindenmuth, who lived at 56 Commercial Street. Thanks to his account, Art in Narrow Streets, we have a detailed picture of the art scene from 1914 through 1947. Vivian (Foster) De Pinna, a suffragist and an abstract artist whose husband had been president of the De Pinna clothing stores of New York, once owned the house. More pictures and history»

51 Commercial Street

Prince Freeman Apartments

Nathaniel Freeman lived in this modest house, built in 1818 in the center of the Long Point community. Catherine and Edward Dahill opened the Prince Freeman Apartments in 1949, taking the name from the first baby born at Long Point. Now called the Prince Freeman Westend Waterfront Compound, 51 Commercial Street continues to be run and owned by the Dahill family. More pictures»

52 Commercial Street

 
La Principessa

A splash of pink, this 1850s house at 52 Commercial Street is known as “La Principessa.” It was here that John Whorf, a water-colorist whom The Advocate called the “jewel in the crown of many noted Provincetown artists,” rode out the hurricane of 1944. Though born in Winthrop, he came to town at a young age to visit his grandfather Isaiah. Handsome and worldly, he became a consummate town insider, serving as Skipper of the Beachcombers, but was also well-known off-Cape. More pictures and history»

54 Commercial Street

 
Stephen Nickerson, who built this house on the shoreline around 1790, is thought to have been one of the wealthier residents of town. There was no Commercial Street at the time. The house simply faced the harbor. The 1807 House, as it was known until 2009, took its name from the year in which it was supposed that Nickerson moved the building upland to its current location at 54 Commercial Street, thereby creating space to service his whaling business. More pictures and history»

† 55 Commercial Street

Western Cold Storage

On what is now a parking lot and town landing at 55 Commercial Street stood Western Cold Storage, the westernmost of Provincetown’s cold storage facilities; enormous, industrial-strength fish processing and freezing plants which once lined the waterfront. Only one, the Ice House, survives. The Western was built in 1917 and only operated for a year before shutting down. The town seized the property for non-payment of taxes and tore down the building in 1937, leaving a parking lot in its wake that has been there ever since. The Long Point exhibit at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum indicates that a floater house also occupied this site.

56 Commercial Street

 
Our Summer Place

“Tod Lindenmuth should know the meaning of Provincetown,” The New York Times declared in 1927. “For years he has been absorbing the jumble of its wharves and streets and resolving it into unified compositions in wood-block prints and paintings.” And for 15 of those years — from 1925 to 1940 — he and his wife, the illustrator Elizabeth Boardman Warren (1886-1980), lived at 56 Commercial Street, which was built in the 1840s and still shows a lot of handsome Greek Revival detail. Lindenmuth left a handful of unsigned studies in the house. They are still in the hands of Margaret and Donald Murphy, whose family has owned the property since 1954 and rents out Lindenmuth’s studio and a comfortable two-story former salt shed under the name Our Summer Place. (More than one guest over the years must have taken satisfaction from honestly telling friends, “Oh, we’re just going to Our Summer Place on the Cape.”) More pictures and history

59 Commercial Street

This Long Point transplant at 59 Commercial Street was, until recent years, the home of the Center for Coastal Studies, an “independent, nonprofit, membership-supported institution dedicated to research, public education programs and conservation programs for the coastal and marine environments.” It was founded by Dr. Charles (Stormy) Mayo, Dr. Barbara Mayo and Dr. Graham Giese. It is now at 115 Bradford Street, leaving this fine old house to return to domestic service.

60 Commercial Street

 
A classic full Cape, built around 1790, according to the Historic District Survey, citing the plaque on the house. There is also on the property, but much more easily visible on Atwood Avenue, a former workshop and cottage (Historic District Survey) with a trapezoidal plan that makes for a wonderfully odd facade. The property was owned for many years by the fearless Robenia F. Anthony (b ±1879), a school teacher in Springfield, Mass., and a national director of Progressive Citizens of America, which broke with the Democratic Party over concerns that the Truman Doctrine of containment of the Soviet Union and its allies was the real threat to world peace. More pictures and history»

60 Commercial Street

60 Commercial Street, by David Jarrett (1994).

60 Commercial Street, by David Jarrett (1994).

A classic full Cape with Federal-style details, built around 1790, No. 60 was owned by the fearless Robenia Anthony, a school teacher in Springfield and a national director of Progressive Citizens of America. In 1953, she refused to tell a Senate subcommittee whether she’d been active in the Communist movement. Another occupant, William Adams, managed the Provincetown Theatre and the Sand Bar Restaurant in the West End. The current occupants are Robert Foy and Joseph Connolly. Nancy Poucher, who lives in the rear cottage, sets up a table full of fresh-cut flowers and vegetables in summer. Passers-by can leave money in an honor box and walk off with a bouquet, or the beginnings of a tasty salad. “There is more overpayment than underpayment,” she told me, gratefully.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

† 63 Commercial Street

63 Commercial Street, Provincetown (1973), by Steve Silberman. Courtesy of Steve Silberman. 
63 Commercial Street, Provincetown (±1973), by Steve Silberman. Courtesy of Steve Silberman.The Viewpoint

According to Steve Silberman, whose family vacationed here for 40 years, “The original guest house bore the name the Galley, and then the Viewpoint, and was owned by the cookbook author Hazel Meyer and her partner Alice Bartoli, and then by Donald and Joan Morse, before being bought and torn down by the current owners.” In the 1950s, the Galley Shop was operated at this address by “Cap’ns” Dick Knudson and Jim Flag. More pictures and history»

63 Commercial Street

63 Commercial Street, Provincetown (2009), by David W. Dunlap. 
63 Commercial Street, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.This 4,000-square-foot house, especially prominent with its turreted corner bay, is home to an equally prominent entrepreneurial couple: William P. “Bill” Dougal (b 1947), formerly the co-owner of Coldwell Banker Pat Shultz Real Estate, 406 Commercial Street, and Richard J. “Rick” Murray (b 1958), the president and general manager of the Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial. They are also the founding partners of the Mussel Beach Health Club, 35 Bradford Street. Dougal and Murray bought 63 Commercial in 1989 from Richard H. Jensen, who’d bought it four years earlier from Donald G. and Joan B. Morse. More history»

63 Commercial Street

63 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

63 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

63 Commercial Street, by Steve Silberman (1973).

63 Commercial Street, by Steve Silberman (1973).

“Cap’ns” Dick Knudson and Jim Flag operated the Galley shop and inn here in the 1950s. According to Steve Silberman, whose family vacationed here for 40 years, the name was changed to the Viewpoint and owned by the cookbook author Hazel Meyer and her partner Alice Bartoli, and then by Donald and Joan Morse. William Dougal and Rick Murray, partners in the Crown & Anchor and Mussel Beach Health Club, acquired the property in 1989, made it their home in 1995 and transformed it, as the before and after photos illustrate.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

64 Commercial Street

 
A classic full Cape — long the home of Roslyn Garfield (1921-2012) and Phyllis Temple (1928-2008) — this house at 64 Commercial Street dates from the early 19th century, meaning that it originally faced the water, long before there was a Commercial Street. But it did so at a different location: across from the Red Inn. It was moved to this location in 1840. It was the property of Miss Ella A. Small at the turn of the 20th century, when it was denominated 51 Commercial Street. In the 1930s, Mrs. Ella A. Sibley (±1860-1944; née Smith, but perhaps the same person as Ella Small) offered rooms to let. In 1945, her heirs sold 64 Commercial Street to Irving and Rachel Ashley Sametz of Westport, Conn., operators of the Ashley Shop at 445 Commercial Street. More pictures and history»

64 Commercial Street

Conrad Malicoat chimney, 64 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

Conrad Malicoat chimney, 64 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

Urvashi Vaid, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Urvashi Vaid, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Kate Clinton, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Kate Clinton, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Roslyn Garfield, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Roslyn Garfield, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Another classic full Cape, No. 64 dates from the early 19th century, when it was built near what is now the Red Inn. It was moved to this location in 1840. Irving and Rachel Ashley Sametz, operators of the Ashley Shop at 445 Commercial, sold the house in 1956 to Roslyn Garfield, a partner with Judith Tobey in the Etcetera Shop and Shirts Etcetera at 220 Commercial. Garfield became a leading real estate broker and lawyer, and the town moderator. She shared this home with Phyllis Temple. Conrad Malicoat created a chimney with a relief of a breaching whale and crafted the Gaudíesque kitchen millwork. The artist Joan Wye provided a totem pole-like sculptural column. The house was bequeathed by Garfield to the performer and activist Kate Clinton and her partner, Urvashi Vaid, a prominent human rights advocate.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

68 Commercial Street

The James M. Burke was among the largest and best known boats in the Provincetown fishing fleet in the mid-20th century. And this is where himself — Capt. James M. Burke (±1865-1941) — berthed, when he wasn’t out on his namesake vessel or aboard the Amelia D. or the Cormorant, which he also owned. Burke, a Provincetown native whose parents were born in Ireland, was chiefly known around town as a master politician. From 1915 to 1940, he was the chairman of the Republican Town Committee — when such a thing could even be imagined to exist (“J. M. Burke Dies, Funeral Friday,” The Advocate, 6 November 1941). In 1900, he married Ada Holmes (±1866-1948) of Brooklyn. Mrs. Burke operated 68 Commercial Street both as a kindergarten and as a rooming house. More pictures and history»

69 Commercial Street

69 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

69 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Alice Brock, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Alice Brock, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Anyone of a Certain Age will almost certainly share the author’s quiet pleasure in knowing that Alice (Pelkey) Brock, the Alice of Alice’s Restaurant, wound up practicing her delightful art in Provincetown. “There’s still the beautiful light, and there are still a few crackpots left,” she told The Boston Globe in 2008. “The only place I would want to go would be a place like this, and I’m here now.” Her father, Joseph Pelkey, made a name for himself locally working with Peter Hunt and managing the Christmas Tree Shop, behind which the family spent summers. She purchased No. 69 in 1983, inheriting the astonishing renovation by Adolphe Robicheau, a ballet dancer and instructor, who transformed it into a dramatic expression of Catholic piety, installing a pipe organ, altar, stations of the cross, baptismal font, prie-dieu, icons, and stained-glass window. She removed almost everything but the window.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

69 Commercial Street

69 Commercial Street, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap. 

Alice Brock, 69 Commercial Street, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Alice Brock Studio | R & R Place

Anyone of a Certain Age will almost certainly share the author’s quiet pleasure in knowing that Alice M. (Pelkey) Brock, the Alice of Alice’s Restaurant, wound up practicing her delightful art right here in Provincetown. She moved to Cape Cod in 1979 and declared three decades later that she was grateful for every “beautiful day in paradise” (Jane Roy Brown,  “After Alice’s Restaurants,” The Boston Globe24 February 2008). “Thank God for the National Seashore,” she said. “There’s still the beautiful light, and there are still a few crackpots left. I never want to go anywhere. People say, ‘Don’t you want to go away in the winter?’ The only place I would want to go would be a place like this, and I’m here now.” More pictures and history

72 Commercial Street

 
“Oldest House” (Seth Nickerson House)
We’ll keep the “Oldest House” title in quotation marks because there are other claimants, though 72 Commercial Street is certainly among the very oldest structures still standing in town, having been built around 1746-50, and is well worth attention in any case as a fine example of the full Cape style, with double front windows on either side of a central doorway (which is also why this style is sometimes described as a Double Cape). In contrast to No. 64, note how the windows abut the eaves, which is a sign of its age. Another giveaway is the beehive-shaped brick oven at the rear of the main fireplace, which the Walking Tour guide said would be found only in a house built before 1750. More pictures and history»

72 Commercial Street

72 Commercial Street.

72 Commercial Street.

Though there have been other claimants as “Oldest House,” No. 72 is certainly among the oldest structures still standing in town, having been built around 1746-50, and is worth attention as a fine example of a full Cape. Note how the windows abut the eaves, which is a sign of age. Seth Nickerson was a ship’s carpenter and built his house of shipwreck salvage. The artists Elizabeth (Jenkinson) Waugh and F. Coulton Waugh owned the house and opened it to the public, with his Ship Model Shop and her Hooked Rug Shop. John and Vivienne (Wing) Whorf lived here in the 1940s. John Gregory, a painter, printmaker, and photographer, and his wife, Adelaide Gregory, a concert pianist, bought the house in 1944 and kept it open to the public. The house changed hands in 1995 and was restored by the architect Robert Neiley.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

72A Commercial Street

 
William Maynard Studio
Built as Sol Nickerson’s workshop, this small shed-style cottage at 72A Commercial Street was once F. Coulton Waugh’s painting studio. (Waugh and his wife also operated shops in 72 Commercial Street.) One of Waugh’s best known and most delightful compositions — a cross between his work as a painter and as an illustrator — is A Map of Cape Cod (1926). The building is now the studio of William Maynard (b 1921). A sign in the yard invites passersby to watch Maynard at work. ArkArt‘s thumbnail biography, by Donnell Walker, says: “William Maynard is a graduate of the school of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He also studied for two years at Massachusetts College of Art. More pictures and history»

72B Commercial Street

Since 1995, the old Nickerson compound on either side of Ericsson Avenue — 72 Commercial, 72A Commercial and 72B Commercial — has been under common ownership, by Robert E. McCamant and John W. “Jack” Croucher. This lot includes a sweet little three-quarter Cape and a neo-Victorian greenhouse that McCamant and Croucher had constructed in 2002. The property had been owned for many years by the Rodgers family, who may have given their name to Rodgers Court, as Ericsson Avenue used to be called. More pictures and history»

73A-73B Commercial Street

73A Commercial Street, Spindrift at Captain Jack's Wharf, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

73A Commercial Street, Spindrift at Captain Jack’s Wharf, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

73A Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

73A Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

73B Commercial Street, giraffe mural from the Circus Club, by David W. Dunlap (2014).

73B Commercial Street, giraffe mural from the Circus Club, by David W. Dunlap (2014).

Even if you’ve never set foot on the pier, the oddly-angled, salt-crusted Captain Jack’s Wharf has helped form your picture of Provincetown. Capt. Jackson Williams, born at 70A Commercial in 1861, owned trapboats. He began building his wharf in 1897. The tall, narrow roof in mid-wharf marks the herring smoke house. When weir fishing declined in the 1920s, Williams started renting pier sheds to tourists. The cabin called Ribbons was Mrs. Lucille Bailey’s Tea Room, “where working women could go without being suspect,” said Sandy Harris, who owns the unit with her husband, Joe. Rents at the time of Captain Jack’s death in 1935 were $45 to $75 for the whole season. (Transients are still accommodated but the prices have gone up, to as much as $5,225 a week in the high season.)

73A Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

73A Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

In 1936, Dr. Daniel Hiebert began running the wharf as Studios-on-the-Sea. In Ribbons, the performer Sally Nye opened the Circus Club bar. Its three-ring décor featured animal murals, which the Harrises preserved. Dr. Hiebert’s wife, Emily, took over the wharf in 1939 and renamed it Captain Jack’s. Tennessee Williams did not write The Glass Menagerie here, nor seduce Marlon Brando in exchange for the role of Stanley Kowalski. He did, however, have a brief affair with Kip Kiernan, a ballet dancer. The Hieberts’ daughter Ruth ran the wharf and acquired nearby properties like No. 67, which she renamed the Skiff, and No. 71, Dinghy Dock. Her life companion, Maurice Fitzgerald, was a naval captain, state representative, and judge. “Ruth was one part ship’s captain, keeping the wharf running smoothly, and two parts social director,” Ed Fitzgerald recalled. The property is now a condo. The cabins at the end, Spindrift and Hesperus, were bought in 2010 by Mark Moskowitz.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

73A Commercial Street

 
Captain Jack’s Wharf

No matter whether you’ve ever set foot here, the quirky, odd-angled, salt-crusted, sea-infused Captain Jack’s Wharf has almost undoubtedly helped form your mental picture of Provincetown. Even now, its eccentric and ramshackle charm seems largely intact, though a consultation with its asking rates will quickly dispel any idea that this is still a Bohemian paradise. Captain Jack — Jackson R. Williams — was born in Provincetown in 1861. He was a fisherman through the 1880s. He applied to the commonwealth in 1897 to build a 100-foot wharf from his property at 73½ Commercial Street. He later added 100 more feet. Then he began to cater to the tourist trade. More pictures and history»

74 Commercial Street

 
Octagon House

If not exactly all the rage, octagonal houses were nonetheless popular in the mid-19th century for a variety of reasons. Robert Soper, the whaling master who built Provincetown’s Octagon House in 1850, believed that its shape would help deflect the power of storms. Soper was a founding trustee of the Centenary Methodist Church not far away and a founding incorporator of the nearby Seamen’s Savings Bank. He left town in 1865 after the whaling industry collapsed. More pictures and history»

74 Commercial Street

74 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

74 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Octagonal houses had their eight minutes of fame in the 19th century. Robert Soper, the whaling master who built this Octagon House in 1850, believed its shape would deflect the power of storms. He was a founder of the Centenary Methodist Church and of the Seamen’s Savings Bank. Soper left town in 1865 after the whaling industry collapsed. From the early 1920s to the early ’40s, this was the Octagon Inn and restaurant; Mildred O’Neill, proprietor. Mellen and Isabel Hatch bought it in 1945 and renamed it Hatchway. Mellen wrote The Log of Provincetown and Truro, and Isabel ran the Hatchway as a “rest home.” The home was closed in 1973 for failure to meet safety requirements. James “Sweet Pants” Silva bought it in 1985, Len Paoletti told me, added the roof deck, and filled the place with antiques and Oriental carpets. Kathleen Mayo and Cheryl Stewart bought it in 2011 and undertook a substantial rehabilitation.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

76 Commercial Street

 
Frederick Waugh – Hans Hofmann Studio

Doric columns, serious and sturdy, hold up a prominent pediment that marks this exceptionally handsome facade from the early 1800s. For a century or so, 76 Commercial Street was owned by the Nickerson and Freeman families. More pictures and history»

76 Commercial Street

76 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

76 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Todd Westrick, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Todd Westrick, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Donard Engle, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Donard Engle, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Robert Randall Bourne, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Robert Randall Bourne, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Doric columns, serious and sturdy, hold up a prominent pediment that marks this handsome Federal-style facade from the early 1800s. For a century or so, No. 76 was owned by the Nickerson and Freeman families. The house was purchased in 1927 by the seascape painter Frederick Judd Waugh, who constructed the cathedral-like studio on Nickerson Street, behind the main house. Waugh used beams and planks from a shipwreck, as well as enormous brackets known as ship’s knees. The studio was completed in 1928. The painter Hans Hofmann, who’d worked and taught at the Hawthorne Class Studio and Fritz Bultman’s studio, bought the Waugh studio and home in 1945. In the house, Hofmann’s wife, Miz, “created spectacular interiors using red, yellow, blue, and white paint,” according to the Walking Tour by Josephine Del Deo and George Bryant. Hofmann conducted Friday afternoon critiques that drew large crowds. He died in 1966 and is buried in Truro.

76 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

76 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

In 1990, Donard Engle, a clergyman from Akron, Ohio, purchased the studio. He invited Todd Westrick, a landscape and architectural designer, to visit Provincetown in 1998. Captivated by what he saw, Westrick began a faithful restoration and conservation effort whose result is a space that Hofmann and Waugh would have no trouble recognizing, down to the stray paint speckles. Robert Randall Bourne, an artist and landscape gardener who is a tenant in the main house, was inspired by Hofmann’s bold palette to plant the front yard with tall sunflowers.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

† Wharf at 83 Commercial Street

 
Wharf Players Theater
Theater was taken so very seriously in Provincetown in the early 20th century that schisms arose. Mary Bicknell’s Wharf Theater, founded in 1923, first performed in a movie theater, then moved briefly to Frank Shay’s barn. Both factions — Bicknell’s and Shay’s — sought to dominate at this playhouse. The more conservative Bicknell group tried to get the upper hand by walking off with benches, props and equipment. In 1925, they built their own theater, on what had been known as the Myrick Atwood Wharf. More pictures and history»

83 Commercial Street

 
West End Racing Club
The West End Racing Club sounds like a place whose members dress in commodores’ outfits, but it is in fact a nonprofit organization begun at Flyer’s Beach in 1950 that teaches children to swim and sail. Their shoreline clubhouse at 83 Commercial Street was finished and dedicated in 1957 on “the same ground where once stood the old Wharf Theater.” This building was to house summer activities and provide a wintertime storage area for the boats. More pictures and history»

83 Commercial Street

83 Commercial Street, West End Racing Club, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

83 Commercial Street, West End Racing Club, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

The West End Racing Club sounds like a place whose members dress in commodores’ outfits, but it’s a nonprofit group begun at Flyer’s Beach in 1950 that teaches children to swim and sail. One startling fact that propelled its founding: many fishermen did not know how to swim. The hope was to improve their chances of survival in the unlikely event of a sinking or the much likelier event of falling overboard. Among the organizers were Joseph Andrews, Will Hurlburt, George Fillmore Miller Jr., Lawrence Richmond, Francis Rogers, Francis “Flyer” Santos, and Richard Santos. Their shoreline clubhouse was finished and dedicated in 1957 on the site of Mary Bicknell’s Wharf Theater, which was built in 1925 and fell into the harbor in 1940 (not 1941, as the plaque says). The signal flags on the beam, painted by a young Amy Whorf McGuiggan, say, “Welcome to the WERC.” (As cropped above: “lcome to the WER.”)


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

84 Commercial Street

Israel Sklar, 84 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Israel Sklar, 84 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2009).

Phyllis Sklar brooch, by Stephen Borkowski (2014).

Phyllis Sklar brooch, by Stephen Borkowski (2014).

The plaque on No. 84 states that it was built in 1797, a date accepted by the Provincetown Historic Survey with the considerable caveat that the building was heavily altered over time, gaining a full-length shed dormer and losing its porch. In 1966, Phyllis and Israel Sklar, opened Phyllis Handwrought Jewelry at this location. Phyllis Gold had been a jeweler in Greenwich Village, where she met Sklar, an artist and musician. At their wedding in 1960, the jazz clarinetist Pee Wee Russell was the best man. They opened their first Provincetown shop in the East End in 1961. Phyllis died in 2010, Izzi two years later. In 2014, one of her brooches (pictured) was accepted into the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

84 Commercial Street

 
Phyllis Handwrought Jewelry

The plaque on 84 Commercial Street states that it was built in 1797, a date accepted by the Historic District Survey with the considerable caveat that the building was “heavily altered over time.” Among other features, it gained a full-length shed dormer and lost its porch. For about 35 years, until 1947, Emma Agnes Cudois had run a millinery shop out of her home here. It was also known for a time as the Wiletta House. Then, in 1966, Phyllis and Israel Sklar of New York moved their jewelry and gift store here from 407/379 Commercial Street. More pictures and history»

88 Commercial Street

 
Valentine’s Guesthouse

For more than a century, since 1910, the Valentines have accommodated transient guests at the family home on Commercial Street — qualifying for some kind of record in hospitality. The Valentines’ story is also woven through that of the fishery, and — like so many families tied to the sea — they have known their share of great sorrow. In January 1941, Antone Francis Valentine (also known as Anthony), then around 60 years old, lost his life when the 90-foot trawler Mary E. O’Hara sank in Boston Harbor after hitting an anchored barge. More pictures and history»

88 Commercial Street

88 Commercial Street, Valentine's Guesthouse, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

88 Commercial Street, Valentine’s Guesthouse, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

88 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2014).

88 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2014).

Helen Valentine, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Helen Valentine, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

For more than a century, since 1910, the Valentines have accommodated transient guests at the family’s mid-19th-century home — qualifying for some kind of record in hospitality. Antone George Valentine was working for Atlantic Coast Fisheries in 1949 when he married Helen Gertrude Silva, who has continued to run Valentine’s Guesthouse to this day. Like so many families tied to the sea, the Valentines have known great sorrow. In 1941, Antone’s father, Antone Francis Valentine, died when the trawler Mary E. O’Hara sank in Boston Harbor. His father, Manuel Valentine, and brother Manuel Jr. had perished together 41 years earlier on the Grand Banks aboard the schooner Cora McKay.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

90 Commercial Street

Former Seamen’s Savings Bank

For the first three decades of its existence, from the 1830s through the 1860s, the building at 90 Commercial Street was the Union Exchange, serving the large and busy Union Wharf. It was purchased in 1868 by the Seamen’s Savings Bank, which was then across the road, at No. 99. The bank remained here until 1892, serving many Long Point transplants before moving to 276 Commercial Street. When the New York art dealer Harry Salpeter opened a gallery here in 1954, he was told by Frank Roza, then the owner of the building, that he’d discovered a small cache of Portuguese coins. Ten years later, Romanos Rizk applied to operate an art school here.

90 Commercial Street

90 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

90 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2008).

From the 1830s through the 1860s, the building at No. 90 was the Union Exchange, serving the large and busy Union Wharf. It was purchased in 1868 by the Seamen’s Savings Bank, which was then across the road, at No. 99. The bank remained here until 1892, serving many Long Point transplants before moving to 276 Commercial. A cache of Portuguese coins was found here decades later by Frank Roza, owner of the building. The art dealer Harry Salpeter opened a gallery here in 1954. Yvonne Andersen and Dominic Falcone, alumni of the Sun Gallery, opened the Front Street Gallery here in 1962, with Salvatore and Josephine Del Deo. The space was then used as a studio by Romanos Rizk. It is now the law office of Frederick Long. He and his wife, Joy, bought the building in 2004 and restored it commendably.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

91 Commercial Street

91 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

91 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Dean Hara and Rep. Gerry Studds, courtesy of Dean Hara.

Dean Hara and Rep. Gerry Studds, courtesy of Dean Hara.

Gerry Studds not only represented the town on Capitol Hill from 1973 to 1997, he lived here during his 12 terms in Congress and several years thereafter, sharing this home with Dean Hara, whom he married in 2004. Studds was known nationally as the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives and known locally, The Banner said, “for his accessibility to constituents and his effective advocacy of their concerns, notably in matters of the environment, health care, fishing and maritime issues.” His name is commemorated in the Studds/Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. David Carnivale was the original architect of this house in 1983, while Thomas Green presided during construction and a 1999 renovation. The central roof dormer was reduced noticeably for the current owner, Michel Wallerstein of New York.


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

91 Commercial Street

 
Gerry E. Studds (1937-2006) not only represented Provincetown on Capitol Hill, he lived here during his 12 terms in Congress and for several years after that. Studds served from 1973 to 1997, representing Cape Cod, the islands and the South Shore. He was known nationally as the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives but even better known locally, The Banner said, “for his accessibility to constituents and his effective advocacy of their concerns, notably in matters of the environment, health care, fishing and maritime issues.” His name is commemorated in the Studds/Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, three miles north of the cape. More history»